The Collective at 120 South Main
Retail Concept Supports Local Businesses
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell
Business partners Danielle Mavrick and Whitney Alvis launched their retail concept, The Collective at 120 South Main, in Culver last December – and both were rather surprised when the concept went live.
“Neither one of us are shoppers,” Alvis says. “I never thought I would own retail because I don’t particularly like to shop.”
When three downtown Culver businesses gave notice for closing in 2019, many area business owners grew concerned.
“The Main Street area is not that big,” says Alvis, an Oklahoma native. “You can’t have three people leave at once.”
Last August representatives from the Culver Visitor Center and Main Street Group met to discuss the state of local retail. It quickly became apparent that Mavrick, who is heavily involved with many local organizations, and Alvis were thinking similarly.
“We met for coffee the next morning,” Alvis says. “We left that saying, ‘Okay, maybe we can do this.’”
The duo’s business concept is incredibly innovative – a space aimed at building up the community by supporting local, professional creatives. Specifically, they want to enable small business owners to share space, overhead and employees. Fortunately, Alvis owns an empty downtown building. It is perfect for their needs, with plenty of space to accommodate dozens of creatives and their products.
“We both just knew that this was something that Culver needed,” Mavrick says. “We just decided to take a really big chance.”
By December several professional creatives signed on including Diva, Gemelo Woodworks, LLC, Cecilia Designs Jewelry, and several other artists and artisans. Some tenants sell nationally recognized, eco-friendly clothes, accessories, books and learning toys. Local food products are also available, including sweets from a chocolatier and a variety of foods by Healthy Bites Kitchen.
“The collaborative effort lets everybody do the part that they love and that they’re good at,” Alvis says. “So everybody wins because we’re all doing what we enjoy.”
As the storefront manager, Mavrick has developed a deep appreciation for the tenants, and makes an effort explain the background of products to customers.
“I find that connection with small business owners makes me want to support them, and I think it would make others want to support someone,” Mavrick says.
Within the next year Mavrick and Alvis are planning to expand their business to include an online store, and they’d like to host workshops and art classes. They are also hoping to expand their business into other communities.
“We have some targeted towns in mind,” Alvis says. “So many of these small towns’ downtown areas are dying off because of big-box retail. Every community has people who are really good at whatever their thing is, and trying to make a living. So we hope that this can be duplicated.”
The Collective is located at 120 South Main in Culver. For more info visit 120southmain.com. Those interested in getting involved can email Danielle Mavrick at email@example.com, and Whitney Alvis at firstname.lastname@example.org.